So it was in Jesus‘ case. His body was nailed to the cross. His body died. His body was pierced with a spear, and shed blood and water (John 19:34). His body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in linen, and laid in a tomb (Mark 15:46).
If Jesus did not rise bodily, He did not rise in any meaningful sense of the word.
Ah, but what did the women come seeking on that Sunday morning? They sought His body for further burial treatment. And what did they not find? His body (Luke 24:3).
The body was missing, though the grave clothes were left behind (John 20:6–7).
And what was it they encountered that convinced them of Jesus‘ victory over death? The living, resurrected, glorified body of the Lord Jesus. In fact, though cults and false teachers have sought out ways to deny it, the historical narratives go to great pains to stress the physical, material reality of Jesus‘ resurrected body. He still bears the trophies of His contest (Luke 24:40; John 20:27), He can be touched (Matt. 28:9), He eats (Luke 24:41–43)—He has flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Though His glorified body could be called a "spiritual body" (cf. 1 Cor. 15:44), it is a body, nonetheless.
But why was it important for Jesus to rise from the dead in a material body?
First, this is what Jesus predicted. At the very outset of His public ministry, Jesus announced that He would raise up the "temple" that the Jews tore down (John 2:19). Though His hearers thought He spoke of the physical temple building, He was speaking of the temple of His body (John 2:21). That body would be torn down; and that same body would be raised up. The same body that was whipped, beaten, and mortally crucified, would rise (Matt. 20:18–19). If that did not happen, Jesus‘ prediction was false, and His whole case is undone.
Second, Jesus‘ bodily resurrection would prove to be the ultimate divine validation of Jesus‘ person and work (Rom. 1:4). Think it through. What would God have had to do to the dead body of Jesus in order to invalidate everything He said? The answer? Nothing! Simply let Jesus‘ corpse lie there dead, as corpses have characteristically done since Adam, and the entire structure of Jesus‘ claims would collapse with a horrendous crash. Jesus‘ resurrection is His Father‘s seal of approval on everything He said and did.
Third (and central for our purpose here), His resurrection shows that His sacrifice for us was accepted. As Paul puts it, Jesus "was delivered on account of our trespasses, and was raised on account of our justification‖ (Rom. 4:25 DJP ). "On account of"—in other words, the resurrection of Jesus attests the fact that God had declared His people righteous because of Jesus‘ sacrifice. We are not justified by His resurrection; His resurrection proves that we are justified by His death.
Unless Satan can get Jesus back in the tomb—and I don‘t see that happening—I know that God sees me as righteous for Jesus' sake.
(from The World-Tilting Gospel, 128-130)